A remarkably good Spy Story from PBS / Masterpiece.
The IMDB doesn’t say much. Then again, for a Spy Mystery you really don’t want to say much or you are spewing spoilers…
A British intelligence analyst with MI5 has to work out why the PM had his best boss and best friend killed.
It leaves so much important laying on the ground… First off, this is a series of 3 movies. The “blurb” under the title on Amazon says:
David Hare’s thrilling spy trilogy exposes the battles raging inside the intelligence community in the name of security. The Worricker stories include: Page Eight; Salting the Battlefield; and Turks Caicos.
Not a whole lot better, but you begin to get the sense of it.
First off, this is a British Story with British Actors. It starts off so low key and slow most Americans will have fallen asleep or gone for coffee. But, to quote someone… KBO.. “Keep Buggering On” and it picks up speed. Somewhere along the line I picked up from Mum the love of a slow building mystery in the British style. Also a sensitivity to the low key way a raised eyebrow, nod (or lack of a nod), and even a terse “I see.” can carry more than a paragraph. This is in that style. Not to be watched with senses chemically dulled, nor when multitasking with the phone or tablet. Put them down and pay attention. Those dry details in passing are going to matter later. Keep track of Colonel Mustard is hiding!
The story manages to mix a realistic romance (with issues…) along with the kinds of twists and turns any real life spy drama is likely to have. Guessing which side who is on? How about guessing which side YOU are on in what you are doing… Of course, there are several twists, turns and plot reversals. Wouldn’t be right without them. There are shifting allegiances, entrapments, “turned” agents, and more.
What make it special for me? Aside from just a much more realistic portrayal of spycraft, the main spy is a 60 something, so a demographic I can relate to. No 30 something guy shooting up anything that moves, this is an old crafty guy working the system, even while it threatens to kill him. The other interesting bit is that the plot reflects some things hinted at in our news and worries… the potential for intelligence agencies to forget who is the boss and think governments are theirs to manage…
The acting is superb. So much said with just a subdued smile, a raised eyebrow, a slump or a tightening of the shoulders.
Hopefully I’ve not given away too much of the plot. Go find it. Watch it. Think about the news and nations.
I found it on Amazon (free as part of the Prime package that we only bought for shipping costs). It is likely in other places as well.
The guys at work have been talking about Mind Hunter on Netflix. Haven’t gotten a Roundtoit yet to spend on it, but intend to. The guys at work are left-leaning, nevertheless the reviews look pretty good:
“Mindhunter is based on a nonfiction book by John E. Douglas, one of the first criminal profilers in the U.S., who’s inspired characters in The Silence of the Lambs, Criminal Minds, and countless other crime dramas. It’s unclear exactly where the first 10 episodes are going, although there are fragments of scenes that hint at serial killers Ford and Tench have yet to discover. But the show, four of whose episodes are directed by Fincher, bears the hallmarks of the director’s work in film and television: a drained, bleak color palette; a universe that’s essentially corrupted; an intricately violent imagination. ”
The wife and I might take a detour from Startrek movies and check out your pick there.
Well, that was fine. Those Brits can make a real classy mystery, can’t they?
I didn’t think it moved particularly slowly. I got the feeling there were some cuts. But since it’s something you stream, you can always back it up and take another look.
Thank you for that review.
Been watching Mind Hunter (thanks!) and like it. It helps that I lived through that era and remember the cases… Not as subtle as Worricker, but good in a more American way ;-)
Glad you liked it! (Glad my review was good for something too ;-)
I guess maybe I’ve just been up to my eyeballs in so many Star Wars / Shoot-em-ups that if something doesn’t explode in the first minute “it’s slow” ;-)
I love the way British shows mix the mystery with some romance with some adventure with… Why limit to just ONE genre when you can overlay a more complicated story? It takes more brain engagement, which is likely why they don’t do as well on US TV as “Bang Boom Boobs!!”… Oh Well. I search them out…
We are looking for Worricker, but didn’t find it on the first try. I had to get the wife the PBS subscription because she loves all the period pieces. I like some of them too, but don’t tell anyone. She also loves the shows about real crimes. Gets me to worrying sometimes ;)
jim2, when she burns here notes….
I was surprised that BBC would produce a movie that is so “anti-American” in identifying a world-wide network of torture chambers used in the “War on Terror” after the world towers were destroyed on 9-11-2001.
Democracies In the US and the U.K. were destroyed if the movie plot has validity.
I was surprised that BBC would produce a movie that is so “pro-communism”and “anti-capitalism” in identifying the world-wide network of torture chambers used in the “War on Terrorism” after the world towers were destroyed on 9-11-2001.
Governments of the US and the U.K. are fraudulent if the movie plot is valid.
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Part of the charm of it is the way you end up questioning what you think about our governments…
About a year ago I was enthralled with the “Tunnel” , you might try that, not as charismatic a main character though
Phraudulent CERN physics may be the next chapter of Climategate
Inspector Gently is another PBS/BBC series with a similar theme
From time to time I have been involved in government politics. They are a special class of people you have to deal with, leaves a scum on your soul. I’d rather wrestle with a herd of pigs in their sty. At least the pigs are honest…pg
Hi, PG. I knew a local politican well once. When he suddenly died, everyone grieved, except for his wife! She knew he was an AH
@Oliver, Ah……ha..ha.ha ;-)
Everyone brings joy to the world.
Some when they arrive, Others when they leave!…pg
Nostradamus said that the most important nation in the world would the western one whose people celebrated Thursday.
A wonderful Day of Thanksgiving to everyone…pg
Yes, politicians are a special class of people. Perhaps I missed my calling.
The greatest parts of the movies were in the way they depicted the character of typical politicians
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So, it appears …
1. This is (yet) another I-am-woman-hear-me-roar movie, where the female head of MI5 is the puppeteer of politicians and spies.
2. It reflects a meme surrounding Trump as one who deals with dark forces, the Russians, and the miasma of corruption and moral bankruptcy the Dimowits have attempted to foist upon him.